The Top Ways that Your Life Impacts Your Safety on the Road
It is well-known that teenagers are the most dangerous drivers on the road. In fact, their insurance rates and premiums reflect their statistical liability of getting into an accident. Male drivers also have a higher risk profile.
By understanding different factors when it comes to driving, you will have a better understanding of how your life impacts your safety and what your chance of a car crash may be.
We live in a time with increasingly more distractions for drivers. Where once drivers merely had to contend with tuning their radio, we now have a world of entertainment at our fingertips.
Although almost 100% of drivers believe that texting while driving is dangerous, over 30% admitted to reading texts while driving, and over 20% admitted to writing a text while driving. Despite the belief system that texting while driving should be avoided, it is interesting to see that individuals blatantly disregard their better judgment.
Furthermore, texting while driving for even five seconds has been compared to closing your eyes. It was found that an individual who closes their eyes for 5 seconds, traveling 55 mph, will have traveled the distance of one football field. That is a considerable length; it’s no wonder that distracted driving is the leading cause of car accidents in the United States.
A total of 13% of fatalities occur in accidents where distracted driving was the culprit.
Speeding/Running Red Lights
A person might speed for a variety of reasons. If an individual is running late, the cost-benefit reward is weighed out in their mind, and they choose to speed. For teenagers and young adults, there is an added social element to be gained from speeding, helping them fit into the cool crowd. For some individuals, there is the feeling of invincibility, like nothing can hurt them. This tends to be more accurate for younger drivers.
This invincibility complex begins in the early stages of youth and does not end until adulthood. Usually, the invincibility complex begins to disappear with the development of the frontal lobe of the brain. For women this occurs typically by the age of 25.
Unfortunately for men, their frontal lobe usually doesn’t fully develop until the age of 30. Running red lights is also associated with this invincibility mentality.
There are several mental illnesses or disorders that may impact an individual’s ability to control their behavior or risk-taking capabilities. The most prominent one to consider, as it impacts many individuals, is ADHD. Those with this disorder are often associated with hyperactivity and impulsivity. It is no wonder, then, that those with ADHD take higher risks.
Additional mental disturbances that may contribute to a higher risk-taking profile include bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. With the manic episodes that individuals experience with bipolar disorder, and their impulsive control behavior issues in general, those suffering from this mental disorder are likely to be more risky individuals. Less research has been done on schizophrenia, but a correlation has been made.
The impact of our mental health on impulse control is only a fraction of the story. This is also in addition to the invincibility complex of younger drivers due to an underdeveloped frontal cortex.
Those who abuse different substances are already making more risky decisions in their lives. By engaging in these activities, they lose their ability to make well-reasoned decisions. As a result, those who abuse substances are more likely to drive while under the influence. When an individuals' mental capacities and decision-making capabilities are impaired, accidents are inevitable.
Imagine the increased risks associated with the type of car you drive, or that others around you drive. If you were to get into an accident with a big-rig truck, the effects to yourself and other cars on the road increase drastically.
Also, any other trucks that are pulling trailers significantly increase the risk factor when accidents occur with or around such vehicles. This can be due to the added weight and lower control that a driver can maintain in situations that need a quick reaction time.
When you engage in risky driving behavior, you are not only putting your life at risk, but the lives of others around you. To help limit yourself from being distracted while driving, putting your phone away is a good idea. This will help remove the urge or ability to reach for it.
Remember, risky driving practices often have more than one victim. If you or someone you know has experienced an accident, it is important to take action.
In evaluating and understanding the different factors that contribute to an individual’s risk profile, we are able to have a better understanding of who takes risks, why they take risks, and when they are more likely to take risks.
When we have a better grasp of this information, we are able to better prevent such risky driving behaviors.